Like many drivers, Pursley has not been able to secure any kind of sponsorship or funding to race regularly since the 2005 season. This coming the year after he won the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national championship while racing at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.
“The sponsors I had kind of went by the wayside,” Pursley said. “Sponsors are hard to come by at this point in time. I didn’t have the money to race on my own, so I did what I could. That’s when I started crew chiefing Mike Price and helping those guys out.”
Price was racing at Irwindale. His dad, Gene Price, got behind Pursley and will provide him with the funds and support to run the entire NASCAR Camping World Series West season, which starts Saturday night at Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, Texas.
Gene Price Motorsports has four cars, two old Cup cars from Richard Childress Racing, one of the old Hendrick Motorsports cars from the NASCAR Busch Series and a road course car from Kevin Harvick Inc. The team was testing in Las Vegas at the Bullring last week in the Hendrick car in preparation for the West Series opener.
The team brought both Childress cars to the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale in January, but Pursley crashed in qualifying on a wet weekend of racing. Persistent rain washed out the first day of racing at the track and created slick conditions on the track.
“I had high hopes for that race,” Pursley said. “We tested a couple times and our car was really fast. That’s one of the reasons we didn’t run the car the night before when they had the practices. We didn’t want to get into any trouble or have the possibility of getting into a wreck. In actuality, I wish we almost would have ran it just to see how the car was.”
Thunderhill opens a 13-race season for the West Series. The West Series teams and drivers will race at Irwindale on July 4.
“Mentally, I’m kind of going into it as it’s a brand new season, a brand new series for me,” Pursley said. “I want to be smart about it. I want to finish top three this year. I don’t want to be wrecking cars and doing stupid stuff. We going to go into it with excellent equipment and Gene’s backing me 100 percent. We have a really good group of guys. I can’t wait to start.”